Eric Rock Photography: Blog en-us (C) Eric Rock Photography (Eric Rock Photography) Tue, 22 May 2018 20:33:00 GMT Tue, 22 May 2018 20:33:00 GMT Eric Rock Photography: Blog 90 120 It's in the bag. Joe Van Os Photosafaris asked me to put together a video post discussing what Olympus camera equipment I carry with me when I am out traveling or photographing in the field. 

Here is the YouTube link:

It's In The Bag, (a video post about what I carry when I am shooting in the field.)  

]]> (Eric Rock Photography) camera equipment fourthirds light olympus photographer. portable traveling Tue, 22 May 2018 20:29:09 GMT
Travel and guiding. I have been able to keep myself busy guiding and planning new trips latley for the well established Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris. If you are interested in  my up and coming workshops and trips stop by the JVO website and give my schedule a look. The direct link for my trips can be found at: My trip schedule with Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris

]]> (Eric Rock Photography) Tue, 22 May 2018 20:13:21 GMT
It's in the bag, video project I have been working for Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris guiding and developing new photo trips this year. I started a new project using video to show potential travelers the photo gear our guides take into field with them. This series is called It's in the bag. Check out the pilot episode where, I film the video, edit the video and star in the video. So far it has been a fun project.


]]> (Eric Rock Photography) bag in it's joseph os photo safaris the van Thu, 14 Sep 2017 22:04:46 GMT
Day 7: Energy Let the challenges guide you.

As I finish up this week of posts, the one thing brought to mind is, I am not a writer. I enjoy the writing but I enjoy the photography even more. Why, maybe I am just a visual person. Before I finish up my entries completely allow me to cover one more thing that not only applies to flower photography but all types of photography. 

There are days, or nights, you go out and images don't come easy. Nature gives us many challenges and just the thought of overcoming them will discourage some photographers. I find my vision grows more when challenged by these constraints, be it rain, wind, clouds, my mood or what ever the environment throws at me. When this happens get out and see the beauty in the rain, or the clouds the wind. Unless it is a safety issue, please know your limits, you will be amazed at how these elements can help you focus your attention on your natural world.

I hope you can use some of these ideas to go out and let them lead you into new adventures and growth in your photography. 

A little breeze, arnica and lupine. A field of flowers can convey more about a place when other elements are included in the scene. Wind energyUse even the difficult elements

]]> (Eric Rock Photography) blur color emotion energy flower photography wind Sat, 29 Jul 2017 20:07:18 GMT
Day 6: The Flowered and the Landscape. Don't forget photographing flowers in the bigger landscape. It might be in the forest or it may be in the meadow, flowers add a great deal of color to the landscape. When shooting landscapes I always try to find some foreground subject to add interest to the scene. Flowers can be a strong compositional element to add to any landscape. Getting in close on the lupine here allowed for some strong foreground detail and draws the viewer into the larger image. In most cases the blooms will add extra element of color or texture to help attract some attention to the photo in creasing the dynamic nature of your landscapes.

Tripods are still a good option for these kinds of shots as they can let use use the small f-stops needed to increase your depth of field, getting crisp focus on foreground and more distant background scenery. This is where a wide angle lens works well for flower photography, or you might try a tilt shift or perspective control lens in these types of images to help grab that extra crisp focus. This is also a good image to add the use of a circular polarizing filter that can help with adding saturated color by removing reflected light from the surfaces of petals and foliage, providing for rich colors.    

]]> (Eric Rock Photography) flower landscape photography polarizer saturation shift tilt tripod Fri, 28 Jul 2017 13:44:48 GMT
Day 5 Lens selection. Day 5: Lens selection, Selecting out the composition and compressing the field.

The lens you choose has a great deal for how you render a photograph and it is very true even with flower photography. The first and go to lens for most people thinking about photographing a flower would often be a macro lens. It is true a macro lens does allow you to get close and bring in all the intimate detail of a bloom but digging out a telephoto may allow new options to compose and draw out you vision.

I enjoy the fact a telephoto or telephoto zoom lens allows me to step back from a subject and reach in close at the same time, but there are other properties about these powerhouse lenses I enjoy more. When leading photo trips I work to get my travelers to practice isolating what in a scene really attracts or catches their eye. I find a using a telephoto to be a good way from an the image maker to reach for the isolated view and extract out what it is catching the eye. This is a great way to remove any elements of a scene that distract from what you are attempting to portray. I also enjoy the fact that longer lenses tend to compress the field of view. Telephoto compression is the ability of a longer lens to bring the foreground into a closer plane with the back ground, compressing the image and flattening it out. I often catch myself saying things like," telephoto compression takes a three dimensional world down to a two dimensional world, while I am leading my photo trips." The longer lenses will not really help with adding depth of field but the compression will help with separation of your subject from the back ground. 



Tulip field

In this example of the tulips the 300mm perspective smashes the flowers down to a tighter plane creating a much more dense composition of color and pattern.  


Tulip timeTelephoto flower photography.  

]]> (Eric Rock Photography) color composition flower lens photo photography telephoto tips trips tulips Thu, 27 Jul 2017 14:42:24 GMT
Day 4 Working the backlight. FireweedFireweed Backlight is one of may favorite types of light to work with flowers and it is one of the easiest to use. Most flowers are somewhat translucent, and just moving to the opposite side of the flower from the source of the light changes the scene dramatically. The petals and sometimes the leaves, filter the light coming through them, creating this effect that I compare with stained glass light. Backlighting your subject this way is great for bringing out and saturating the colors. I also believe the back light brings out a depth and dimension that will add extra life to your flower photography. Another bonus is the out of focus highlights can help with framing your focal flower. This can be done at all times of the day but will be easier and work best in the earlier and later hours of the day. Near high noon, you will have to get very low to back light the blossoms. Give this a try the next time you are out. The exposure is usually easy, check your histogram and make any adjustments needed at the time. 

Back light BonusWork back light with wildflowers for more saturated light.


]]> (Eric Rock Photography) backlight fireweed flower photography tips Wed, 26 Jul 2017 16:28:16 GMT
Day 3 Drama and direction of light. Day 3: Enjoy the light.

When you find a subject or subjects get in move around, working the light. For some situations sunny days work great but try getting out and photographing in the shadow as the sun hits overhead. Bad weather can work for great images too. Rain and overcast days will soften out shadows and add much appreciated detail. I especially enjoy woking in shadowy forests using the play of light on sun dappled understory to my advantage.

For this image, I moved around until I had a dark forest background and just one lone flower in the much brighter highlights of the sun lighting it up. This is the kind of lighting that adds impact to an image and reminds me of stage lighting where only one performer is lite up, focusing everyones attention on them.  


Direction of light.Working the light.

]]> (Eric Rock Photography) adding drama flower light photos sage spot Tue, 25 Jul 2017 19:37:15 GMT
Day 2 Composition  

Wild GeraniumBalancing good composition Day 2 Thinking about composition.

As a rule, I often state there are no rules, when it comes to composition. That said, almost anything can work, it might just take a little exploring. When photographing flowers, I often think like a florist. I ask myself what would be the best way to arrange these flowers, but instead of a vase, I am arranging them in a frame. By no means does that mean I cut the flowers and arrange them the way I want. Instead I move myself around the natural arrangement using my camera/lens combination to move in and out to allow the composition to include what I want from the scene and how the light falls on the blossoms. Sometimes general guidelines for flower arranging can apply to photography as well. In this example I make the use of three blossoms to create a balanced but pleasing composition of three wild geraniums. I think the use of three allows the viewer eye to move freely and naturally through the frame. In this case not all of flowers have to be in the same plane of focus, maybe because the up front blossom allows the viewer the detail to fill in for the other two softer flowers?

Composition is best tried out in each given situation. This is a great place for a photographer to have fun and spend some time exploring with eye and camera.

]]> (Eric Rock Photography) composition flower geranium. photography wild Mon, 24 Jul 2017 16:16:12 GMT
Blossom Week. Day 1 I have wondered far from my intentions of a working blog with ideas and tips about photography so, I think I need a restart. I am thinking a small restart might help me with the intentions to move forward and publish more photos and explore my own photography at a greater depth. Little ideas can go a great distance. With summer here, I thought a few entries on flower photography tips might be a good way to get going.

With spring and summer most photographers have ample opportunity to slip into a world of color. I am lucky, for where I live, I can head off in every direction and find the beauty and color flowers lend to nature for the short months of spring and into summer. Most folks can find seasonal blooms for them selves, sometimes close by their own home or by traveling further into the field. If you are looking, sometimes it only takes slowing down and looking close, some flowers are big and bold but many require a little closer attention to discover. I often find my self crawling around in a field or forest floor examining and photographing the colorful blossoms that present themselves each season. If you have difficulty tuning into the seasonal flowers in your area, talk with local arboretums, gardens or check the internet. The modern web offers the curious browser seasons and schedules for most flowering plants in just about every corner of the world.

I have assembled together a few of my tips to getting out and making the most of the natures finest with the hopes it will add to your creative quest for seeking wonderful images of flowers. Read through, these are not a complete  list of ideas just a few to get you going. I will add one new tip for each day of this week to live here on the blog. Get out and have fun and happy shooting. 

Day 1 Getting close, this is where the details live.  This image of a very close up of Arrowleaf balsamroot flower, showing the detail  in the florets of this cheery early summer flower would be a great start. It reminds me of the simple but elegant beauty of flowers and all they are composed of. 

Balsamroot details; by getting in very close and photographing with nothing more than a iPhone and a macro lens I was able to extract a much smaller scene from a field of these radiant beauties. Flower photography may mean stepping back and capturing images of entire mountainsides covers in the color of summertime blooms or it may entail crawling in close for the intimate detail of a single blossom. Getting close, establishes impact and a relationship with your subject. A good day out photographing flowers allows me to ground myself in my location and subject.  

*Please note: Anytime you get close to flowers, be cautious not to step on, break, cut, crush or just outright disturb the plant growth you are there to photograph. Often times these plants may have been waiting years to flower and complete their reproductive season. Leaving no trace that you were there will help provide you, and others with the satisfaction that the plant life will continue its cycle un-interupted.   

Iphone photo in macro.Balsam Root Detail

]]> (Eric Rock Photography) american macro montana photography tips wildflowers Sun, 23 Jul 2017 20:21:42 GMT
Working with video and the smart phone. MonarchVideo of overwintering monarch butterflies in the trans volcanic mountains of Mexico shot with the iPhone.

]]> (Eric Rock Photography) Mexico butterflies monarch mountains trans travel volcanic wintering. Tue, 20 Jun 2017 15:15:37 GMT
Adventure Photography Interview Here is a link to my adventure photography interview done by Candice Andrews for the Adventure collection blog.

]]> (Eric Rock Photography) adventure interview photography Tue, 17 Feb 2015 19:08:42 GMT
Early Bird If I remember correctly the first bird I could identifying as a child, was the American Robin. Thanks to my grandmother for letting me help her in the garden, starting out  my passion as a larval naturalist at only a few years old. The next bird for me to reliably identify must have been a red-winged black bird. Not that it is the most striking bird, more so because it is so aptly named, difficult to confuse with any of the other birds I grew up with. I continue to look forward to their return every spring.

]]> (Eric Rock Photography) Mon, 21 Apr 2014 05:52:41 GMT
Photography of Bears at Brooks Falls Photographing bears at Brooks falls, Katmai National Park, Alaska 

Save weight, space and time!

I have been wanting to write this up for a long time in an effort to make the photography of the brown bears gathered at Brooks Falls more pleasant and efficient for everyone. I have about twenty seasons of visiting and guiding bear photography trips to Brooks Falls to photograph the annual gathering of brown bears, (Ursus arctos). I often get asked about how busy the observation platform gets during the day and what is the best set up for photography. On a busy afternoon when all the bear viewers and photographers are at the falls viewing platform the National Park Service limits the number of people to around forty, with a time limit of an hour. While the viewing area can be pretty packed with photographers and bear watchers, I have found one sure way to make photographing easier, more productive and less frustrating. It all comes down to having a good portable support for the platform. Carrying a tripod back and forth to the viewing area makes a lot of sense until the first time you arrive and it is shoulder to shoulder and you quickly realize that setting up a sturdy tripod is inappropriate and just plain impossible. I suggest to my travelers the combination of using a Bogen Super clamp and hex head plate, (see photos and links below) to match it up to your selection of a tripod head. The set up photographed below utilizes a Really Right Stuff BH-55 Ball head but any solid head works just fine. I even use a gimbal type head regularly with no difficulty. The clamp quickly anchors right to the railing at the viewing areas and easily comes off to move to another vantage point as you choose to change positions. I also find it much easier to carry the clamp and head instead of a tripod, back and forth from the lodge to the falls along the mile long trail. The moving of people on the platform does introduce some vibration into the system but the same is true of tripods as well. This set up will not only benefit you by eliminating the bumps and and kicks to extended tripod legs but gives everyone at the platform more elbow room. One more thing to note, sharing and cooperation on the platforms goes a long way to ensuring everyone has a positive experience at Brooks Falls. It is important to remember that the bears rely on the resource that these salmon provide and the chance to fish for them for their survival from year to year. Enjoy the photography, the viewing and the learning with quiet respect. 

If you meet me out there on the trail, please say hello! I wish you many good days of photography. 

"Links for the clamp and plate are provide below"


A good solid mount camera is required to catch the moment a salmon leaps into the mouth of a waiting Brown Bear. Brooks Falls, Katmai National Park, Alaska

Really Right Stuff Ball head shown with the Bogen Super Clamp set up. 

I have been meaning on making a post with a little bit more of a nut and bolt side of photography that might help a few photographer out with photographing bears at the Brooks Falls platforms. Often time I get questions about what gear works best for photographing bears at Brooks Falls.

]]> (Eric Rock Photography) Alaska Bogen Brooks Clamp Falls Katmai National Park Really Right Stuff Super bear from photography platform viewing Sat, 15 Feb 2014 22:47:40 GMT
Allowing fields to go fallow.

Aspen and White Spruce in Winter Light, Fairbanks, Alaska 2014

I have been away from here for a while. Not really always away but just during the cold winter months. I can never avoid an Alaskan summer but over the last few years it has been difficult to schedule a winter visit to Fairbanks. A place, I think, that will always feel like home to me. I feel like it is good to return to places that have inspired you in the past, especially after being away for a while. In this case it is the season that is important for my return, my memory and my inspiration.

I gained most of my appreciation for the low angle of winter light while attending university in Alaska. During my time at school I walked across this campus countless times, on most occasions, I would take the time to stop and at least spend a couple of moments appreciating the quality of the changing light. In some ways this is where I really learned to really see colors. 

On a recent trip to Fairbanks I took an afternoon to walk around campus. It was winter break and very few people were around, leaving the grounds pretty much open for my exploration. Yes, the the landscape has a few changes. New buildings walkways and roads. Snow covered up most of the subtle aspects of the landscape but I found it easy to step through the memories of my time at the school. It was a cold, clear day in the minus temperatures, like many here this close to the Arctic Circle. I found it easy to just get lost in that old familiar low angle light. I wondered around in it just looking for ways to capture, its hues, its warmth and its shadows. It was so striking to me that I had been away for quite a while and maybe I was here the whole time.   

]]> (Eric Rock Photography) Alaska Aspen Fairbanks White Winter light spruce Sun, 12 Jan 2014 14:27:15 GMT
Polar bears of Churchill  


The polar bears of Churchill.A mother and cub take a rest in the polar bear viewing area in the Churchill Wildlife Management area.

My sixteenth season of guiding polar bear trips to Churchill Manitoba. I can say, no two seasons are the same and it never gets boring. The cold has set in and ice is beginning to form. This mother and cub wait anxiously for good ice to form before they head out onto the Hudson Bay. Ice on the bay means the opportunity to hunt seals and a chance to replenish fat reserves utilized for survival over the ice free summer season. with my  seasons now of spending time int he company of such great creatures, I still have no real understanding of how  such an animal can cope with the physiological demands of up to five months with out reliable ice for feeding. This time away from food can be up to eight months for females during the season of their pregnancy.  

]]> (Eric Rock Photography) Churchill bear cub polar Thu, 19 Dec 2013 16:09:52 GMT
One perspective on photography tours featuring some new work.

]]> (Eric Rock Photography) Thu, 14 Nov 2013 20:40:38 GMT
Trees Trees have and always will be some of my favorite subjects.

]]> (Eric Rock Photography) California Old growth trees Sat, 19 Oct 2013 02:27:05 GMT
Polar Bear Season The 2013 Polar season is here!

Just getting started with my 16th polar bear season in Churchill season. This is a summer photo of a bear just east of town I took back in 2007. The season always starts off with out snow but most of the early season images show the bears on a golden back ground. I wanted to show a greener summer shot to start off the season. I hope to update the blog with pictures and stories as the season goes along.

]]> (Eric Rock Photography) Fri, 11 Oct 2013 04:21:30 GMT
Weather and wolves! It isn't that often we have good soaking rains in the Yellowstone ecosystem but today was one of them. The light was low and rain pouring down. I always attempt to get my photo travelers out in rough weather and this morning the Junction Butte pack wolves  were a perfect subject. The wolves headed towards the road in an attempt to catch a fleeing coyote. Just after the chase, the wolves regrouped on a small hill just below Specimen Ridge. With todays digital cameras it is much easier to get good quality images in difficult lighting. Today higher ISO images produce much better quality nature photos.  In this situation the wet conditions allowed for better color saturation.  Yes, I got pretty wet too.

]]> (Eric Rock Photography) Tue, 08 Oct 2013 03:06:24 GMT